Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Character careers

Friday, December 22, 2006

Character careers


A lot of you know Kathy Love and I have created a fictional vampire band, The Impalers, http://www.vampireband.com/. The band will be written into our future books, and the character Ren D’Antoni will actually be the hero in Kathy’s fifth vampire book, due out in early 2008. We both absolutely love music, and are thrilled to be able to play in our fictional world of musicians, but generally speaking, there is resistance from publishers to have musicians as heroes in romance novels. They also aren't always thrilled to see professional athletes, artists, models, celebrities, and things like chefs.

Yet if you’ve read Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, or Lori Foster, you know athletes make amazingly sexy heroes!

The reason usually given to steer clear of the above is that it’s hard for the reader to relate and empathize with someone in such a different lifestyle, and that creative professionals tend to be moody and difficult to live with. I suppose there is also a fidelity issue, since musicians and athletes are on the road so much. Personally, I see it as more of a challenge to write heroines in the above professions- it’s a little hard for the average woman to dredge up sympathy for the rich and beautiful model who just can’t be happy. Or is that just me? LOL.

But on the flip side, one of my favorite books I’ve written, and one of the best received by readers, is Heiress For Hire, where the heroine is rich and beautiful and spoiled. But I think what Amanda showed was that it’s easy to be a brat when you’re raised the way she was… but at the core of it, she is a very loving and giving person. That is her achievement as a human being.

So for me, I think it’s all in the execution, and all in who the character shows themselves to be as a person. I don’t care what they do for a living.

Are there certain professions or settings you just wouldn’t want to read about? Would a musician or athlete for a hero turn you off a story? What about a hero in a traditionally female profession?

Have a great holiday everyone!
Erin

9 comments:

Shiloh Walker said...

that creative professionals tend to be moody and difficult to live with.

hey... i resent that...

;o) but the DH would 100% agree.

Cryna said...

A hero who is a musician, athlete, or working in a profession predominately female would not turn me off. It would be depend on the way the Author portrayed the hero, but basically there are some great guys out there who are have a story to be told. I would like to see more stories on athletes. And there is just as much problems for a male in a female profession as there is for a female to be working in a male dominant profession, so the story if done well would be an interesting one.

Estella said...

I would read about any of the professions you mentioned. Even a man in a womans world.

Judy F said...

I have no problems with diff professions for men or women. Its a good story that I love.

DianneCastell said...

I love different professions but the old cop, fireman, military works well too for the hero and heroine.
I think the problem with the creative careers is that they are so mental...you can't see what's going on and then there's the final product whereas other professions are more visual...shoot the gun, chase the bad guy, put out the fire.

spyscribbler said...

that creative professionals tend to be moody and difficult to live with.

Hey! I resemble that ...

I think part of the problem is that the drive and ambition of a creative professional can easily become louder than the story you want to tell. In a romance, love becomes THE most important thing in their life. If you did a study of the Olympic gold medalists, how many do you think chose their boyfriends/girlfriends over their practice? The answer isn't exactly romantic ...

Diana said...

Erin, Heiress for Hire is one of my favorite books by you. Who would've thought I'd love reading about a heroine who resembles Paris Hilton is certain aspects, but I agree with what you said. It IS all in the execution and in who the character shows her/himself to be as a person.

When it comes to professions in romance books, I am open to anything. I don't really have a preference. A musician or athlete would not turn me off a story. Neither would a hero in a traditionally female profession or vice versa. I enjoy reading about people in diverse professions.

Erin McCarthy said...

LOL, Shi. I suspect my dh would say the same. :-)

And obviously, I'm not saying creative professionals are moody and difficult to live with, that just seems to be a reason given why they don't always fly in romance.

Diane, I think that's a great point. The arts are very internal... they're also exclusionary in a lot of ways. The artist or musician needs to create alone, separate from the other person. They're in the "zone" when they work, and sometimes that's hard for other people to understand. It's clear what an accountant is doing at the office... a writer staring into space isn't always seen as working. ;-)

Spy, another good point... the focus of a pro or olympic athlete has to be their sport.

Diana, I'm so glad you enjoyed Heiress. It's one of my favorite books that I've written.

Erin

Stacy~ said...

It's not the professions that turn me off, it's the attitude or behavior of the character, and if I was reading about a heroine who was gorgeous, had a superior or condescending personality, was rich and didn't have to work, had everything come easy for her, including a hero who fell over his feet to please her, I'd HATE that book LOL.